Homophobia In Pro Boxing: Trans Athlete Unable To Get In The Ring

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On December 8, 2018 boxer Patricio Manuel stepped into the ring and became the first transgender man to box professionally in the United States. He also became the first transgender boxer to WIN that same night. However, that was the last time Manuel competed. He does not know when and where, or if he will ever box professionally again. Refusing to back down or give up Manuel told ESPN

“I’ve waited six years before. I’ll wait whatever it takes.”



As reported in Them, “that memorable slugfest would prove to be his last for two and a half years and counting. Although USA Boxing has permitted him to compete at the professional level, opponents can still decline to spar with anyone they choose based on personal bias.” Manuel cannot find boxers willing to fight him because he is transgender. Add to that the Covid-19 Pandemic and Manuel’s pro boxing career has stalled. Undeterred and unapologetic Manuel continued to ESPN, 

Waiting for my first fight, waiting for my first amateur fight, for my first pro fight, all of these cancellations, all of these injuries, people being like, when are you going to give it up? It never crossed my mind that I could give it up.”



Manuel is a fighter in and out of the ring. And if no one will fight him in the ring he takes the fight outside, fighting for the transgender community at large in the wake of recent attacks through legislation,

they are attacking the most vulnerable population out there by going after children and dismissing the autonomy and agency of children to be able to say, ‘This is who I am.'”  

Unfortunately, Manuel has experienced the racism so prevalent in the transgender community. He was pulled over in 2014 for expired tags, and asked to step out of the vehicle,

“And they’re telling me to sit on my hands and like, ‘Are there any weapons, do you have drugs on you? Are you sure you aren’t on drugs? Are you sure you haven’t been arrested? Like, constantly being asked, are you sure you haven’t been arrested?’ “This is the new reality,”


Manuel expands on his feelings of that incident,

“It’s not like I hadn’t experienced … racism. This is how you die: not doing s— but just being seen as a threat. Having police pull guns on you, having police put you on the curb, sitting on your hands, because of a fix-it ticket.”


USAB cannot force others athletes to fight Manuel, and boxers have a long-standing history of discriminating against other minorities by choosing not to fight them. Sadly, it doesn’t look promising for Manuel going forward professionally. Even knowing that he remains optimistic and grateful,


Just thinking about myself as a child, I already knew who I was, but society told me I didn’t know. No, I was right all along. I realized I have done something so many people struggle to do, and it has nothing to do with boxing or breaking barriers. I came back to myself … I found my way back and I found myself. And not only do I like myself, but I really love myself. And so many people that can have all of the quote-unquote success in the world, and they still don’t have that. I feel like I’ve made it.”  




Sources: Them, ESPN

3 thoughts on “Homophobia In Pro Boxing: Trans Athlete Unable To Get In The Ring”

  1. This guy is going through so much b.s., I feel for him. At this point I can only hope people in this country become less frightened and more comfortable with transgender people, but unfortunately, it’s going to take time.


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